The warmer weather this February here in the West has a lot of us thinking about rising trout. What started as a brutal winter with record snowfall is kind of going out with a wimper—I can see the grass on the front lawn here in Idaho Falls for the first time since mid-December, and we’re supposed to get rain throughout this next week.
While that may not sound like the perfect fishing weather, those of us who know our beloved South Fork of the Snake are eagerly awaiting these warmish, drizzly days when midges and the unsung fly of the spring—the Blue-winged Olive—start popping on the lower river. BWOs are often associated with gray autumn days, and rightly so. But they hatch on warmer days throughout the winter and into the spring, too. Smart anglers haven’t put their “fall” fly box away yet. Pre-runoff dry-fly action on western rivers is just around the corner, and BWO is often the go-to choice for anglers looking fish on top.
In the video above, Tim Flagler films Matt Grobert tying maybe the simplest BWO pattern I’ve come across—the Puff Daddy Blue-winged Olive. This fly uses traditional dubbing and CDC that we might usually associate with emerger flies (perhaps that’s part of its charm?). But, as Tim notes, the CDC will float pretty well on its own, and in a size 20 or so, this fly would be a deadly addition to any South Fork fly box.
If you’re itching to get out on the water before the big push of runoff comes, now’s the time to start tying, and you might start with this simple pattern.
— Chris Hunt